UFCW 21 representative Anthony Cantu (center) pumps his fist in the air as others clap in response to the news that a tentative agreement had been reached with Providence during a union contract negotiation vigil at Northwest Everett Neighborhood Park across from Providence Region Medical Center Everett on Wednesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).

UFCW 21 representative Anthony Cantu (center) pumps his fist in the air as others clap in response to the news that a tentative agreement had been reached with Providence during a union contract negotiation vigil at Northwest Everett Neighborhood Park across from Providence Region Medical Center Everett on Wednesday in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).

Providence, Everett medical center employees agree to a deal

Union representatives announced the tentative agreement Wednesday, amid marathon contract talks.

EVERETT — After months of negotiations and a strike threat, union representatives for technicians and professionals at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett announced a tentative deal with the health-care organization Wednesday afternoon amid contract talks.

The deal came hours after service and maintenance workers at Sacred Heart in Spokane and Providence negotiators agreed on a contract, according to a UFCW 21 news release. Negotiations are ongoing with union leaders from 11 other Providence affiliates, including Swedish Edmonds, as well as Hospice and Homecare of Snohomish County in Everett.

“These wins are a result of the strong unity between UFCW 21, SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW and WSNA,” UFCW 21 spokesperson Tom Geiger said in the news release.

Representatives from Providence did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A vote to ratify the contract won’t take place until UFCW 21 members at Providence affiliates reach tentative agreements, Geiger said.

This week’s contract talks were the result of 13,000 Providence employees statewide threatening to strike last week, calling for higher wages, lower caseloads and better benefits.

Last week, union leaders were expected to file their 10-day strike notice, but an all-nighter with a federal mediator kept both sides at the bargaining table. That conversation launched an ongoing seven-day negotiation session.

UFCW 21 representatives Cathy Macphail (left), Anthony Cantu (center) and Home Health and Hospice worker Debi Schmidt (right) talk during a union contract negotiation vigil at Northwest Everett Neighborhood Park on Wednesday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).

UFCW 21 representatives Cathy Macphail (left), Anthony Cantu (center) and Home Health and Hospice worker Debi Schmidt (right) talk during a union contract negotiation vigil at Northwest Everett Neighborhood Park on Wednesday. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald).

Prior to the meeting last Thursday, Swedish outlined a new proposal for its employees with 5.5% raises by July, a $750 contract ratification bonus for employees and a joint committee to address staffing concerns.

SEIU Healthcare 1199NW representatives said the offer didn’t go far enough to ensure adequate caseloads for nurses and caregivers.

In the months leading to this week’s talks, employees at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Swedish Edmonds, and Hospice and Homecare of Snohomish County each authorized strikes as contract talks stalled.

Health care workers were expected to gather Wednesday evening outside Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, Swedish Edmonds and other affiliates to celebrate contract agreements for those who reached them, and to call for fair contracts for those still negotiating.

The marathon negotiations will extend to the end of the week. Representatives from both Providence and the unions said they were optimistic deals could be reached.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; jthompson@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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